While the incident took place in 2013, surveillance video that was just released by the family of the man allegedly shows a teenager drinking liquid methamphetamine, which resulted in his death. It is claimed that, after telling US Customs and Border Protection agents that the liquid was juice, the young man was coerced into drinking liquid meth, the deadly substance that killed him.
Liquid meth, not apple juice
It was November 18, 2013, when Cruz Marcelino Velazquez Acevedo attempted to enter the US at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, where agents queried him about the two drink bottles of amber-colored liquid that were in his backpack.
The 16-year-old from Tijuana told the agents that the two bottles contained apple juice. The officers didn’t believe him, which led to a test being done on the liquid but was unable to reveal if it was liquid meth. From there, Velazquez Acevedo was taken to a secondary inspection site, where sipped the liquid to try to prove it was apple juice.
The new video, which was released by the lawyer representing the family, shows the teen picking up one of the bottles and sipping the liquid. The family claims that the new footage shows that the officers encouraged Velazquez Acevedo to drink it, even though they suspected it was the deadly substance.
In a short amount of time, Velazquez Acevedo began sweating, screaming and convulsing, while repeatedly shouting the words “mi corazon” (“my heart” in Spanish).
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California and the ranking member on the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, condemned the officers’ conduct,
Drug smuggling is wrong and is a crime, but this teenage boy did not deserve a death sentence. For CBP officers to inflict a summary death sentence is not only immoral but also illegal.
Cruz Velazquez died within two hours of drinking the substance, but the two officers involved, Valerie Baird and Adrian Perallon, remain on the job today, with no disciplinary action taken against them.
The family’s lawyer, Eugene Iredale told NBC,
What you see, I think, is a basic lack of compassion and decency toward a 16-year-old boy. Almost a delight that you would see in children who just pull the wings off flies slowly, a smile when he’s being asked to drink something and being put in this position.
It’s true that Cruz was doing something that was against the law. And that he did not have to be doing. That’s a fact.
It’s also true that they did not point their guns at him or physically threaten him but in a social context in which this occurred, they knew exactly what they were doing.
His family settled the lawsuit against Customs and Border Protection for $1 million back in March.